Nasahn, JESUS Film Church Planting Strategy (JFCPS) National Coordinator for Liberia, recently shared the story of a village called Boehtin in Liberia.
Frizz Mantor of Boehtin is currently preparing to attend a JFCPS leadership training, but he wasn’t always a Christian and it wasn’t until he attended a showing of the JESUS film that he turned his life around.
Back in March 2019, the Mano JFCPS team showed the JESUS film in Boehtin, Liberia. They were in town to do an assessment of the film showing, knowing that Boehtin was the African Traditional Group (ATG) stronghold.
After hearing about a suicide that took place in Boehtin, the Mano team leader, Harris, went to visit the bereaved family to sympathize with them. According to the Mano tradition, whenever a family is bereaved, any concerned person or family can visit the bereaved to extend sympathy. There is no need to have any prior relations or connections before expressing sympathy. When Harris and his team visited the family on behalf of the JFCPS, they gave a little purse to the family and prayed with them before leaving the village.
Years before that, in 2017, a local United Liberia Inland Church (ULIC) pastor named Joseph Saye was kidnapped in the village of Kpeikpoah. He was beaten by some Poro society (a men’s secret society in Liberia and Sierra Leone) members when he refused to give in to the Poro’s demands to close the Kpeikpoah church. Joseph was taken to the Poro society bush and kept for three days until the ULIC national church leadership intervened.
The ULIC national leadership, headed by Reverend Leaid S. Zeyoe, complained to the national government about the arrest and torture of one of the church local pastors by the Poro society members. The complaint caught the attention of other Christian denominations that joined ULIC to pressure the government to order the immediate release of Pastor Joseph. At the end of the third day, Joseph was released and brought to Monrovia for medical treatment by the ULIC leadership.
Two years later, Frizz Mantor was in attendance at a JESUS film showing in Boehtin, when the JFCPS team visited. That night, he chose to follow Jesus. Ironically, Frizz was the man who led the Poro team to kidnap and beat Pastor Joseph. Since Frizz accepted Christ, he has been a regular church attendee and is actively serving in the Boehtin ULIC.
“What excites me is that Frizz is part of the Boehtin church leadership and preparing to take part in a JFCPS church leadership training,” Nasahn Yormie, the JFCPS Country Manager for Liberia, rejoiced. “The [region’s] team leader Harris testified about what God was doing among the Mano people group in Nimba.”
The training is set to start in the region in early 2022.
The JFCPS team knows the importance of training local leaders. Since the launch of the JFCPS in 2011, there have been 31,778 people who have attended Action Group training and Theological Education by Extension training.
This past year, the JFCPS team has revised some of the current training materials. This included adding a new study to the JFCPS Church Planting manual follow-up material, and reviewing and revising leadership training modules.
In June of this year, the team in Liberia received a shipment of 180 copies of The Shepherd and His Work, a book that our local teams use for teaching and leadership training. Leaders from new church plants gather for these trainings that happen every quarter, for a cycle of four training sessions.
“The Shepherd and His Work book talks about the ministry of Jesus to the people and how we can model His love and care for others,” Darren Child, JFCPS Canadian Coordinator for Liberia, explained. “This is important in a culture where there are many differences between villages – and sometimes conflict. Jesus is seen as the one who brings peace.”
Meanwhile, in Sierra Leone, Pastor Moses Koroma and his leadership team have continued leadership training and follow-up evangelism efforts, resulting in the growth of the church in the Tonkolili District and in surrounding communities. The Mile 91 church plant in Tonkolili saw the baptism of over a dozen new Christ-followers. In partnership with Harvest Intercontinental Ministry (formerly Bethel World Outreach), a church plant was initially done in August 2018.
Pastor Mustapha Koroma, from Madeima Village in Sierra Leone, recently shared the impact that the JFCPS had on his church planting ministry: “I am a young pastor who is very much passionate about the Kingdom work of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Madeima Community Home Cell started with few believers, and by the grace of God, more new members are being added to the cell each day and I am very much grateful to God for that. Hearing about your church planting strategy brought relief to me because of the positive news I’ve heard about you. Honoring my request to partner with me to make our home cell a church is welcoming news to me because I know that our home cell will definitely be strengthened through the training and the free training materials that will be given to us. I am very much excited to have you here with me. This is what I was actually looking for; people like your type that will come to my aid in the area of church planting and discipleship training. May God Almighty bless you all, in Jesus’ name.”
The JFCPS is committed to continuing leadership training, knowing that local leaders make the biggest difference in their communities. With each leader trained, more people are being introduced to the transformative power of the gospel.